Growing up without parents is a rough task, but growing up without parents amongst a raging war is absurd. Having to run and hide in fear as your village is raided by North Vietnam soldiers is something no one should have to experience, but to those such as my dad, who has experienced this, it can be terrorizing. My dad grew up in the little town of Long Cheng, Laos living day to day struggling to survive. Living conditions for the lower class in Laos was already harsh enough, but when the Vietnam War broke out in 1961 these conditions got even worse. My father and many other Hmongs in Laos were in great danger of the communist armies.
In 1961 as the Communist North Vietnamese advanced into South Vietnam. The communist Laos party allied with North Vietnam in the act of spreading communism. Full war raged and many Americans lost their lives. The United States reached out to the Hmongs in Laos to help fight against the spread of communism. They recruited the Hmongs providing them military training and weapons for guerrilla warfare against the Communist North Vietnam. As the Vietnam War continued countless Hmong lives were lost. After a significant amount of Hmong men were killed in battle they soon resorted to Hmong children. Children as young as eight were forced to fight in the war. In 1975, after many long years of war Americans completely withdrew troops from Laos and left the Hmongs to suffer.
The Laotian army, angered about the Hmong’s alliance with the Americans began executing all Hmongs. Hmongs were forced into the jungles fending for themselves in attempt to reach Thailand. Thailand, being anti-communist, was the safest place for the Hmong people. In order to reach Thailand the Hmongs had to cross the Mekong River separating Laos and Thailand.
As my dad fled from Laos into Thailand with his uncles they were chased down by Laotian soldiers and barely escaped death. On their way to cross the Mekong River my dad told me that...